There is no doubt that technological developments have and are still, effecting the labour market.

Irrespective of where technology takes us, one thing is certain: universal digital literacy must be the new norm. The ability to use digital technology is as essential as numeracy and literacy to everyone participating in a post-industrial revolution economy. Everyone in the workforce will need the ability to use digital technology to do their job, to confidently communicate, find information, and purchase goods and services.

Without basic digital competencies, a person will not have the skills to negotiate the digitally connected world that is now a reality. Without a minimum baseline of digital knowledge, skills and resources, citizens will have difficulty finding a job in the future. This is not a job displacement issue, but the inevitable reality of operating in a modern, global and digital economy.

At a minimum, digital literacy will require everyone to have the ability to access and use information and digital content; communicate and collaborate through digital technologies; manage their digital identity; develop digital content; and use and protect their digital devices, personal data and privacy.

Studies have consistently found that equipping people with digital skills that enable them to participate effectively in the labour market, delivers real economic and social benefits. It reduces unemployment, drives productivity and growth, and contributes to broader social cohesion.

However, it goes beyond mainstream curriculum development, to ensuring more agile skill acquisition models aimed to support the re-skilling and up-skilling requirements of the future workforce. This is especially important for middle skill workers impacted by technology, who need to keep pace with changing skill demands.

It entails developing a culture and framework for lifelong learning, and anticipating skill requirements and agile skill development frameworks. Rather than completely and dramatically replacing existing occupations and job categories, technological disruptions are more likely to substitute specific tasks, resulting in changes to core skill sets.

Skilling up and reskilling our labour market will be one of the most critical factors in shaping the quality and resilience of our future workforce. Industry has a key role in helping inform and prepare educators about how new technology and its application will demand new skill sets, and how technology can be used to deliver more agile and flexible skills programs.

Government and industry need to ensure that ongoing learning structures and supporting systems are available to enable and empower workers to refresh their skills. Find out where Government and Industry stand, navigate technology and the jobs of the future at our Summit 22 March in Canberra!